Rigging is an activity that appears simple at times, but always has the possibility of serious personnel injury or property damage. We must be mindful of our Rigging Practices and leave critical lifts to the experienced, and use the smaller “non-critical” lifts to educate the inexperienced.
Signaling: Appoint one member of the crew to act as the signalman, and instruct the crane operator not to accept signals from anyone else. The signalman must not order a move until getting an “all ready” from each crew member. Each worker in turn must be in the clear before giving an “all ready” to the signal-man. Note: signaling isn’t always possible, the operator and work crew must determine the most effective means of communication for the job.
Hand Protection: When adjusting the rigging before the lift; if it isn’t possible to release the chain, sling, or choker, make sure your hand is clear of pinch points. In fact, keep your hand far enough away so that a frayed wire or splinter on the chain can’t catch your glove and jerk your hand into a pinch point. During the lift be sure to utilize tag lines to avoid putting your hands on the load. Example: One of the recordables that we’ve experienced in the past 5 years, was the result of an employee placing their hand on a load of pipe be carried in a basket hitch with two nylon chokers. As the lift was being moved, the load shifted pinching the employees’ finger between the shifting pipes. The injury resulted in the employee requiring sutures to close the laceration on their finger.
Load Securing: It’s almost impossible to position the hook exactly over the center of the load. So, watch out for a swing or roll. Anticipate the direction of the swing or roll and work away from it. Never place yourself between material, equipment or other stationary objects and the load. Stay away from stacked material that may be knocked over by a swinging load.
Body Positioning: Never stand under a suspended load. Allow for plenty of space between you, the lift and the operating equipment. We can’t assume that nothing will fail; we have to leave ourselves an out. Example: One of our worst injuries of the past 5 years was the result of a rigging failure where a steel cable gave way striking an employee in the face. The root cause was using the incorrect cable for the application, but if we leave ourselves an out we can prevent personal injury.
Setting the Load: If you have to walk with a load, keep it as close to the ground as possible. Avoid walking in front of the load always walk to the side or behind. Always look over the location where the load is to be landed and the path to be traveled. When lowering or setting a load, keep your feet and all other parts of your body out from under. Set the load down easily and slowly. If the load rolls on the blocking, it will shift slowly and you’ll be able to get away.